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NFL Training Camp: What You Need To Know

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The NFL training camp structure is something to pay attention to, so we're going to give you the lowdown on what to expect from the Jets and training camp this year.

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Right now, we have absolutely no football to talk about. Players are off getting their  rest and relaxation before reporting for over 5 months of intense competition. We can't wait for the Jets to report to training camp, in the mean-time, we're going to give you a few facts about what you can expect from training camp, and by the time the Jets report you'll be an expert.

When Will The Jets Start Their Training Camp

The official date has not been released as of yet. Rookies and players will less than one year accrued will report a little earlier than Veterans. Veteran players are not required to report to the teams training camp earlier than fifteen days before the first pre-season game. Last year the 'rookies' reported on the 21st of July and the Veterans reported on the 23rd of July, which was exactly 15 days before the first pre-season game on the 7th of August.

So although we don't know for sure, we can take an educated guess. With the first pre-season game being against the Detroit Lions on the 13th of August. Expect training camp to start around the 27th of July with the Veterans arriving a couple of days later on the 29th.

Where will it be?

We have in previous years held our camp at SUNY Cortland, but this year we'll be staying home at the state of the art facilities at Florham Park. I always found it strange that we went away for our training camp after spending so much money on all the new facilities. This year we'll be closer to the New York fan base, the players get to stay in the comfort of their home and fans don't have to travel very far to see them. Rex always promoted going away as a team bonding exercise, it seems as though Todd Bowles isn't worried about there being a lack of chemistry this year.

What happens on the First Day?

The first official day of training camp is a rather boring one. Players will take their physicals, take part in team and group meetings including classroom instruction. They can take part in conditioning tests and they can run as much as they like. However no on-field activities are permitted. The first day is there to get a good idea about how the players are looking, and welcome everyone together.

What happens after that?

Well after the first day, it's largely back to OTA type sessions. No pads, no contact, no fun. You walk through a few concepts and dust the rust off ready for day 4 onwards. The restrictions of no pads and no contact only applies for days 2 and 3 of training camp.

What about normal practice sessions?

Once we get to the 4th day of training camp. Teams will start the 2-a-day program, however the players can only be on the field for a maximum of 4 hours per day, of the 4 hours the players can only be participating in padded practice for 3 hours, the other hour must be a walk through type session. There must be a 3 hour gap between sessions. QB and th defensive QB are permitted to continue wearing their helmets through walk-throughs for the purpose of getting the calls from the sideline.

The NLFPA is watching, don't even try it!

Can the team just break the rules? Well actually no, it can't. Every single NFL team is required to film every single session and keep a copy of it for 30 days after the start of the regular season. The NFLPA have the right to watch that footage (after signing a confidentiality agreement) if they receive a complaint about a team breaking the rules.

It's always hard to say goodbye

NFL rosters will start training camp at 90 players. By the time the Jets roll out the red-carpet to host the Browns in week one, the team will be down to just 53 players. Players on injured reserve or the physically unable to perform list will not count against the 90. As soon as they are ready to participate, someone has to be cut to make room for them. There is a rumor that Dee Milliner will start training camp on the PUP list, but that's not confirmed.

Teams must cut their rosters from 90 players to 75 and this is usually 2 days before the final round of pre-season games. So if everything stays true to form this year, the Jets will need to get their roster down to 75 players by the 1st of September.

The, usually 2 days after this, teams need to trim the roster further, cutting the 75 down to the final 53. So again, this is a rough estimate, but by the 5th of September we should have our final 53, 8 days before our season opener. A day after that, the team can sign 8 players to the practice squad.

The Practice Squad

Each team is permitted to establish an 10 player practice squad and up to two players who have accrued no more than 2 seasons of NFL experience. Teams can elect to have 5 or 6 players if they would prefer but they can't go over 8. However you can have an international player on your squad making it 9 players, however his citizenship and main place of residence must be outside of the United Stated.

Any player on a teams practice squad is free to negotiate with any of the other 31 teams freely. Any team is free to sign any player from another teams practice squad, but the players must be signed and kept on the active 53 man roster. A player can not be signed from one practice squad to another.

A player can not sign a contract with his current teams next opponent within 6 days of them playing each other or 10 days if there is a bye week. This is to ensure the game plan is not passed between teams.

The minimum salary of a practice squad player per week in 2015 is $6,600 up from $6,300 in 2014.

The practice squad can consist of:

  • Players who do not have a single season of accrued NFL experience.
  • Players who were on the active list for fewer than 9 games during the only accrued season.
  • Not served more than 2 seasons on a practice squad already.
  • Players can serve a 3rd year on the practice squad if it's employer has at least 53 players on the active roster during the entire time of his employment.
  • An accrued season on the practice squad is attributed to a player who has passed the team physical and been on the squad for a minimum of 3 regular season games.

If you sign a player from another practice squad, you are committing to playing at least 3 weeks wages at the 53 man roster minimum, even if he is cut before the three weeks are up.

If you elevate a player from the practice squad to the active 53, you can re-sign him to your practice squad without him having to first pass through waivers.

Practice squad salaries count towards the cap, so teams need to allocate about $1 Mil cap money for the practice squad. Add in the fact that the salary cap only counts the top 51 salaries during the offseason, but counts all 53 players on the team once the season starts, and that’s another $1 Mil in cap room that needs to be accounted for. So whatever cap room a team has today, subtract $2 Mil from that in terms of actual usable space.